Anti-gay evangelical group receives funding from the Canadian government

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

An anti-gay evangelical organisation which describes homosexuality as a “perversion” has been receiving funding from Canada’s government for work in Uganda.

The Canadian government has denounced homophobia in Uganda, and its Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, has spoken out against plans for an anti-gay law which includes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”. 

It has, however, been providing $544,813 (£343,942) in funding to evangelical group, Crossroads Christian Communications (CCC), based in Ontario.

The group makes television programming to help dig wells, build latrines and promote hygiene awareness in Uganda for 2014.

The organization’s website had contained a list of “sexual sins” deemed to be “perversion”. It read: “Turning from the true and/or proper purpose of sexual intercourse; misusing or abusing it, such as in pedophilia, homosexuality and lesbianism, sadism, masochism, transvestism, and bestiality.”

The page also asked sinners to “repent”.“God cares too much for you (and all of His children) to leave such tampering and spiritual abuse unpunished,” it read.

Once contacted by the press, however, the page was reportedly taken down.

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) had been providing the funding to the CCC.

Quebec’s government recently announced that it wanted to create its own agency because it did not support CIDA’s funding choices, CTV news reports.

The choice by CIDA to fund the CCC could be in conflict with the government’s previous statements.

In October, Mr Baird spoke out about homophobia experienced by gay and lesbian Ugandans at an international conference in Quebec City.

“We will speak out on the issues that matter to Canadians, whether it is the role and treatment of women around the world, or the persecution of gays,” he said. “Canada will speak out.”

The CCC defended its position on homosexuality. Carolyn Innis said: “Crossroads’ views on sexuality are informed by our Christian faith and values.”

She did go on to say, however, that the projects funded by CIDA were focussed on specific goals, and were not linked to its anti-gay stance.

“It has not been a practice of Crossroads to influence matters of policy in countries in which we are completing relief or development projects,” she said.

President of the Quebec LGBT Council said the Canadian government should stop funding the CCC and similar groups.

“It’s unacceptable that the government would accept that kind of organization as an international-co-operation organization,” he said.

“Taxpayers’ money should not be used to finance religious groups working abroad, who furthermore contribute to the creation of discriminatory, even inhumane and dangerous, policy.”

A CIDA spokeswoman, Amy Mills, said in an email: “Canada’s views are clear — we have been strongly opposed to the criminalization of homosexuality or violence against people on the basis of their sexual orientation.”

A study by the Canadian Research Institute on Humanitarian Crisis and Aid found that, between 2005 and 2010, the funding for religious non-government organisations increased 42 per cent. Secular groups saw an increase of five per cent.

Back in October, the Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament claimed that Canada had refused to grant visas for several of the country’s politicians due to its ban on same-sex marriage.